Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Monday, January 9, 2017

Today's Scripture

"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the Heroes of Faith or the Saints' Hall of Fame. The passage speaks of a number of godly heroes who lived faithful lives no matter what direction life took them. Understanding the characteristics exemplified by each of these heroes can serve as a model for us. As believers, we represent Christ. Since people are looking at our lives, let us seek to be a godly hero.

Four characteristics are common to all the heroes in the Hall of Fame:
  • They were people of faith.
  • They were commended by God.
  • They believed in creationism.
  • This world was not worthy of them.

Consider this …

Hebrews 12 goes on to describe the Christian race we are running. To be in this race, one must receive Jesus Christ as Savior. This race is not a short 100-yard dash. It is a marathon with hills and valleys, and it calls for endurance.

Picture a stadium or amphitheater filled with the Old Testament godly heroes of Hebrews 11 as the spectators. These godly heroes are witnessing the New Testament saints' race of faith. The lives of these Old Testament heroes set such an example for us . . . and now they are onlookers, cheering us on. These great witnesses bear testimony to us that we too can overcome the hurdles of this life and be victorious.

What is the key to this victory? Today's scripture makes it clear. Keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Prayer

Father, thank you so much for the encouraging lives of the godly heroes. No matter what circumstances surrounded them, they kept their eyes on the Lord. They understood the promised Messiah was coming and they kept their faith in Him. Help me not to be distracted when the challenges of life seem overwhelming. Help me fix my eyes on Jesus. His strength. His love. His way. In his name I pray . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …


Godly Heroes: A Small Group Study of Hebrews 11 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This guide presents a step-by-step study of Hebrews 11. It also features the profile of the characteristics of Godly heroes, written in language that relates to today's living. In this guide you will find definitions, characteristics and examples of the heroes' faith life. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Today's Scripture

"I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

The key to running the Christian race is to keep our focus on Jesus. Our primary competition in this race is the devil, and he strives to distract us. He loves to keep us focused on the past to distract us from Jesus and his plan for the future. Our enemy tries to make us focus on past hurts. Past failures. He overwhelms us with condemnation over past sin (sin Jesus has forgiven but we refuse to let go).

In today's scripture the apostle Paul says he forgets the past and looks forward to what lies ahead, pressing forward to all Jesus has for him, keeping his eyes on Jesus.

Consider this …

Is there something in your past that is affecting your present and perhaps hurting relationships with others . . . and especially with Jesus? Preventing you from moving on toward Jesus, accomplishing his purpose for your life?

When we have sinned, we need to seek and receive Jesus' forgiveness, do what we can to make things right with whomever we have wronged, and then learn from it and move on, keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Many things in our past can keep us from moving forward. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Greed. Unhealthy relationships. Condemnation. And a multitude of other issues. Sometimes we even fix our eyes on a past success and become so focused on that, we don't move ahead.

We have a choice, we can choose to be controlled by such things. Or we can set them aside and move on . . . eyes always on Jesus. Once we make that choice, Jesus will make it possible.

Prayer

Father, I know I have allowed myself to be distracted. I've let that thing in the past shape my present. Please forgive me. Help me overcome, receive your forgiveness, and once again fix my eyes on Jesus. Help me stop looking back and begin looking ahead toward him and his plan. In Jesus' name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …


Godly Heroes: A Small Group Study of Hebrews 11 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This guide presents a step-by-step study of Hebrews 11. It also features the profile of the characteristics of Godly heroes, written in language that relates to today's living. In this guide you will find definitions, characteristics and examples of the heroes' faith life. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Today's Scripture

"So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

As we run the race of life, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. That helps us keep everything in the right perspective (his). Only he can enable us to run the race by faith. In fact, he initiates and perfects our faith.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12:2 NLT)

Consider this …

Jesus walked a perfect life of faith before us, but it was through his suffering that he made our salvation complete.
God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (Hebrews 2:10 NLT)
Jesus ran the race of life, enduring to the end. Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) says this:
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Jesus focused on what was to come rather than the shame and agony of the cross. He suffered so the Father's plan could be accomplished and we could receive forgiveness and eternal life. He knew his reign in eternity would be so much greater than the pain he endured on the earth. He kept his eyes on his Father.
Although we may never suffer as Jesus did, we all experience disappointments, pain, heartbreak, sometimes even tragedy on this earth. The Old Testament saints are examples of the victory that is possible . . . that we can endure to the end and accomplish what God has called us to do. 
Let us keep our eyes on Jesus so we will never grow weary and lose heart.

Prayer

Father, help me keep my eyes on Jesus. To remember all he endured for me. Help me gain an eternal perspective and never give up, no matter how bleak the circumstances may be. Help me walk by faith as these heroes of faith did. In Jesus' name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …


Godly Heroes: A Small Group Study of Hebrews 11 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This guide presents a step-by-step study of Hebrews 11. It also features the profile of the characteristics of Godly heroes, written in language that relates to today's living. In this guide you will find definitions, characteristics and examples of the heroes' faith life. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Today's Scripture

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

The dominant theme among the "huge crowd of witnesses" described in Hebrews 11 is faith. These were men and women of faith. Read through the chapter and note the often repeated phrase "by faith."

We have an advantage over these Old Testament saints. Their salvation was based on the promise of the cross; ours is based on what Christ has already done. 
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. (Hebrews 11:39-40 NLT)
And yet they lived by faith in what was to come, serving as shining examples to us today.

Consider this …

Yesterday we discussed the Bible's view of life as a race. Hebrews 12:1 explains three things we are to do to be effective in this race:
  • "Strip off every weight that slows us down"
  • "Especially the sin that so easily trips us up"
  • "Run with endurance" (we are running a marathon, not a sprint)
Consider what steps you can take to be more effective in your race. What excess baggage is weighing you down? What sin easily trips you up? How does knowing you are running a marathon, not a sprint, help you?

Prayer

Father, I thank you for the faithfulness of these Old Testament people of faith. Thank you for the advantage I have of basing my faith on what Jesus has already done. Reveal to me what things in my life are slowing me down, keeping my faith from growing. Show me any sin and help me live more wisely to avoid allowing it to trip me up. And help me run the race with endurance, keeping my eyes on Jesus. In his name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …


Godly Heroes: A Small Group Study of Hebrews 11 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This guide presents a step-by-step study of Hebrews 11. It also features the profile of the characteristics of Godly heroes, written in language that relates to today's living. In this guide you will find definitions, characteristics and examples of the heroes' faith life. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of
LivingFree.org

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today's Scripture

"And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)

Thoughts for Today

As human beings, we have only one way to please God: faith. Today's scripture makes it clear that without faith, we can never please him.

The entire Christian life is built on a life of faith and trust in God. Without seeing him, we are called to place our trust in him.

There is nothing mysterious about faith. Actually, faith is a decision we make to place our trust in God for our life here on earth and for life after death. Faith has nothing to do with how we feel . . . but what we know. We will either trust God or we will not. Living by faith is living by the Word of God.

Consider this …

To live with the godly heroes in the Hall of Faith calls for us to yield our entire life to Christ. We are called to follow Jesus. 
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7 NLT)
We become a Christian and are forgiven of our sins when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. We don't earn that forgiveness. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and offers us forgiveness as a gift. So our forgiveness comes from our faith in Jesus and his grace toward us. This Colossians scripture says we must continue to follow him the same way--by faith. Have you decided to do that?
Follow him. Trust him. Fix your eyes on him.

Prayer

Father, help me to stop trying to run the race my way and in my power. Help me live by faith. In Jesus' name. . .


These thoughts were drawn from …


Godly Heroes: A Small Group Study of Hebrews 11 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This guide presents a step-by-step study of Hebrews 11. It also features the profile of the characteristics of Godly heroes, written in language that relates to today's living. In this guide you will find definitions, characteristics and examples of the heroes' faith life. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website . Thank you!


Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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